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City Council Enacts New Law Denying Building Permits to Property Owners that Owe Money to the City

Posted on September 8, 2017

On August 30, 2017, City Council enacted a local law, which does NOT take effect until 120 days after this enactment date, denying certain building permits where outstanding charges are owed to the City. Specifically, the law, which adds a new section to Article 105 Title 28 of the Administrative Code, maintains that NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) may not issue a building permit for a new building, demolition, place of assembly, or Alt-1 application for a property that owes $25,000 or more in “covered arears” to the City or if the owners of such property owe in aggregate $25,000 or more in “covered arrears” to the City.

“Covered arrears” includes (1) unpaid fines, civil penalties or judgments entered by a court or the Environmental Control Board (ECB) and (2) unpaid and past due fees or other charges lawfully assessed by the Commissioner of Buildings. “Covered arrears” does not include though any of these items that are currently in the appeals process.

However, a building permit may be issued if any of the following exceptions apply: Applicant submits a certification from Department of Finance that binding agreements are in force requiring payment of all covered arrears and the owners are in compliance with such agreement

  1. If issuing a permit would correct an outstanding violation of the Administrative Code or any other applicable provisions of law or where such permit is necessary to protect public health and safety as determined by the Commissioner of Buildings.
  2. Permit is issued for a portion of property occupied by a tenant who is not the owner of the property or responsible for the covered arrears owed with respect to the property
  3. Permit is issued for a condominium or co-op within the property in question if owner of such condo/co-op does not owe $25,000 or more in aggregate to the City
  4. The property was subject of a foreclosure judgment in favor of the City and was transferred by the City to a 3rd party
  5. The property is the subject of a court order appointing an administrator in a case brought by HPD
  6. The property is the subject of a loan provided by HPD or NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC) for the purpose of rehabilitation that closed within the 5 years preceding the application of such permit
  7. HPD or NYC HDC notifies commissioner that a permit is required for participation in a program that involves rehabilitation of such property

Finally, property owners seeking any one of the permits mentioned above, must include in their applications a certification stating whether they owe such covered arrears, a list of all properties for which the owner owes covered arrears and a list of all properties owned by the owner in general, and a description of any of the exceptions if they are so applicable.

DOB can audit at least 25% of such statements submitted under this new section of the Administrative Code each year.

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